Over 80 Maternal and Infant Health Organizations Send Letter Backing Reauthorization of Law Dedicated to Preventing Preterm Birth
Jun 29 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) alongside U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Michael Burgess (R-Texas) welcomed growing support for their bicameral and bipartisan Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Reauthorization Act of 2023 from 84 maternal and infant health organizations.
In their letters to Senate and House lawmakers, the organizations express the importance of the legislation to improve pregnancy outcomes and infant health by continuing research and education programs aimed at preventing preterm births.
“U.S. preterm birth rate has steadily increased since 2014 to 10.5% in 2021, with a significant 4% increase in just one year and the highest recorded rate since 2007. This represents an increase to 383,082 preterm births,” wrote the group. “While many risk factors associated with preterm birth have been identified, the biological basis for many of these risk factors and the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. This is particularly true for social and structural disparities. The PREEMIE Act will help reduce preterm birth, prevent newborn death and disability caused by preterm birth, expand research into the causes of preterm birth, and promote the development, availability, and use of evidence-based standards of care for pregnant women.”
“The importance of improving maternal care and supporting the needs of babies is clear. I appreciate the support of March of Dimes and other organizations that are making this legislation a key policy priority. It’s necessary that we take action to reduce infant mortality and preterm births. I will continue to encourage my colleagues to advance this bill to deliver help to Arkansas moms and infants,” Boozman said.
“I’m encouraged to see growing support for our PREEMIE Act from health care providers, mothers, and maternal and infant health organizations across the country,” said Bennet. “I’ll keep working across the aisle to reauthorize the PREEMIE Act this year to address the increasing trend of preterm birth and to ensure mothers and babies have access to the care they need.”
The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act would deliver critical federal research, education, and intervention activities to reduce preterm birth and infant mortality. The legislation was first signed into law in 2006 to help reduce infant mortality.
Specifically, the legislation reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s research and data collection on infants born premature and programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration aimed at improving the treatment and outcome of infants born premature. This includes grants to help doctors and the public understand the potential risk factors for having a preterm baby, such as smoking, and grants to screen and treat pregnant people for depression, and substance use disorders, including opioid use disorders. The legislation also authorizes a study to better understand the factors that lead to preterm birth and identify effective prevention and treatment options. These programs are set to expire on September 30, 2023.